by Marion Nestle
Sep 25 2008

How much melamine is harmful?

The European Food Standards Agency has done some calculations.  It says the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) is 0.5 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) body weight.  This means that for a young child weighing 10 kilograms (22 pounds), it would only take five of those candies mentioned in the previous post to hit the TDI.

But the Agency also says that Chinese infant formula contained as much as 2500 mg of melamine per kg.  Let’s assume that a scoop of formula weighs 10 grams and contains 25 mg melamine.  If a child has several feedings a day, this amount of melamine could easily exceed the TDI and, apparently, did.  And remember: if cyanuric acid is present, kidney crystals can form at even lower doses.

  • Sheila

    It is ridiculous to even have a tolerable daily intake of a product that has no business being added to food or allowed in food. This should be a zero tolerance item. It clearly winds up in food only by criminal or unethical activity intended to deceive, actions based in greed. We should simply outlaw purchasing products from any company or country producing food products contaminated with this substance. There is no acceptable apology that could come from any individual, company, or country to make up for what has been suffered needlessly by people or pets who have ingested the melamine.

  • I am thinking the same a Sheila…I mean, what’s the tolerable daily intake of rat poison because I’d like to add some rat poison to my next meal. Ridiculous! It’s criminal.